With the current stopgap spending bill expiring January 19, Congress will likely need to pass a second short-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open while members come to an agreement on the FY2018 omnibus spending bill. The additional CR is reportedly being developed to garner bipartisan support on the floor of the House and Senate next week.
According to reports, the new CR would maintain current spending levels into mid-February. It is unclear whether it will include reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), community health center funding, and extension of various Medicare provisions or if these will be included in the omnibus bill or, in the case of CHIP, a separate bill altogether. As we have reported, the cost of the Medicare extender package could be offset by continuing the ASCRS-opposed misvalued codes provision. If annual misvalued code targets are not met through revaluation of specific services, Medicare physician reimbursements are subject to automatic, across-the-board cuts. The misvalued codes provision was used as an offset for other legislation in previous years, and it is set to expire in 2018. ASCRS, in conjunction with the Alliance of Specialty Medicine and the surgical community, has sent letters to Congressional leaders in opposition to these possible cuts, and we will continue our advocacy efforts to prevent them.
We will keep you updated.